In the 12-month period from January to December 2019 the Office for National Statistics reports that an estimated 1.7million people worked mainly from home, a mere 5% of the workforce.
Another 1% of the total workforce reported working in the same grounds or building as their home. Fast forward to April 2020 and, as we adhere to government guidelines, and stay at home to stay safe and to protect the NHS, the world of work has changed beyond all recognition. We have all been asked, where possible, to work from home and, where remote working isn’t an option, non-essential businesses have closed. As I write this PIM has transitioned from having our onshore teams either in our or our clients’ offices to working from home.
Thanks to the available technology, and a great IT team, PIM’s transition has been smooth and we are able to connect virtually and maintain the office environment while delivering our services to our clients. The team as a whole is responding well to working remotely while adapting to this new norm which also sees our schools closed.
Once we come out the other side of the coronavirus pandemic it will be extremely interesting to see what long lasting effects this experience has on the world of work. Surely such a shift in our daily lives cannot pass without leaving its mark?
While the percentage of the workforce which can effectively work from home differs according to industry sector with some industries and types of work within each sector lending themselves to home working more easily, it has been clearly demonstrated that with the right technology and infrastructure in place home working is possible on a greater scale than previously thought. It follows that companies which have previously been reluctant to embrace remote and/or flexible working are likely to find that this approach will be challenged by employees wishing to continue this way of working.
At PIM, we have always focused on having the right person in the right post and have been open to employees having different working solutions from the ‘norm’. As a company we have found this to be a very successful approach. It has meant that we have been able to access talent which would have been unavailable to us if we had insisted on the traditional office based, nine to five scenario. This makes the company richer as a whole and opens up a broader talent pool when it comes to recruitment.
It may be hard to see at the moment, but I think there will be positives that come out of this strangest of situations and, hopefully, in the world of work a more open attitude to flexibility and home working will be one of them.
Kirsty Ross, HR Manager at PIM, has more than 17 years’ experience of working in human resources. A chartered member of the CIPD Kirsty has a PGDip in Human Resources Management. She held HR roles in the public sector, working for Aberdeenshire Council and Grampian Police, before moving to the oil and gas industry 12 years ago. Kirsty has been with PIM since 2017.
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